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Matchcom Referee Communication Systems
Reftalk Referee Communication Systems

sports [spawrts, spohrts]
–adjective -
of or pertaining to a sport or sports, esp. of the open-air or athletic kind.

com·mu·ni·ca·tion [kuh-myoo-ni-key-shuhn]
–noun -
1. the act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated.
2. means of sending messages, orders, etc., telephone, telegraph, radio
and television.

Reftalk®™ Overview

Murray Tregonning & Associates' MatchCom™ Referee Talkback System was a world's first and originally designed for the introduction of a Video Referee into Rugby League or the TMO (Television Match Official) in Rugby Union whilst additionally supplying the necessary feeds to both TV and radio broadcasters, all being controlled from the MatchCom base unit. It is marketed to top end users in various sporting competitions and has set a new standard for reliability in sports communications.

Over a period of time, a number of our MatchCom clients asked the same question. "Would it be possible to design a "cut down" system that could deliver the same quality and reliability?" If so, referees and match officials in lower grades of competition could experience a similar revolution to what MatchCom has achieved for A grade Rugby League and Rugby Union competitions!

Over several years, we have been working on such a system that can deliver the best sports communications available without the sophistication of MatchCom™ and its operators. A communication system that also delivers value for money and reliability for lower grade games.

Prior to the introduction of MatchCom™, "Talking Flags" were traditionally being used by Referees for both Rugby and Rugby League. The technology "jump" for Referees from "Talking Flags" or Motorola "walkie talkie" based systems to MatchCom™ is enormous! Also problematical, is that "Talking Flags" were a "one way" device designed for the 2 Touch Judges to talk to the Referee but without allowing the Touch Judges to hear the Referee.

In late 2002, prompted by requests from Russell Trotter, then the Referee Manager of the ARU (Australian Rugby Union) and George Ayoub, then the Referee Manager of NSW Rugby, we investigated, sourced, designed, modified and built a system we are very excited about. The results of this project have exceeded what was reasonably expected.

The system is called RefTalk™. This is not a replacement for MatchCom™ but it sits on the "Technology Scale" somewhere between "Talking Flags" and MatchCom. The quality is very similar to MatchCom in most aspects of its operation.

How does it vary in specification from MatchCom? After a short familiarisation period, an operator is not required. The Referees are able to load the vests, change the batteries etc. The end-user's (Referees and Touch Judges) operation and use of it, is the same as MatchCom, in fact, we are using the same RVC (Referee's Communication Vests) and earpieces.

There is no base station (unlike MatchCom) and there are no facilities for a Video Referee (T.M.O.) or integration and audio feeds to a TV Broadcaster. It provides the same two-way communications between the Referee and the Touch Judges as MatchCom does without the extended facilities not required at this level of competition. As with MatchCom, it is also possible for an Assessor or Referee Coaches to have "Listen Only" receivers and earpieces and similarly a feed to
VHS / DVD record systems.

The Main Referee only hears the TJs when they PTT (Push to Talk) as they do with MatchCom. The Main Referee does not hear himself in his earpiece, that is, he has no "sidetone" as per MatchCom. The referees do not have an issue with this. The TJs do, however, have "sidetone" and can hear themselves and their counterpart when either of them PTT to talk to the Referee. The TJs hear the Referee constantly as an "open" microphone, again the same as MatchCom. The audio signal to the Assessors and or Coaches and the VHS / DVD recorder is a "mix" of the Main Referee as a constant "open" microphone with the Touch Judges opening their microphones only with their PTT switches.

The pricing of RefTalk™ is variable depending on how many Receivers are required for Assessors etc. The system is totally flexible to specific needs on a game by game basis. We are only offering RefTalk™ as a rental product which means that you hire a system or systems for a game or the season. The primary issue with purchasing any electronic gear, is how quickly it becomes obsolete. To give you an example, the only component in the current MatchCom system that is from the original 1996 design is the roadbox. So, as soon as something better is available we incorporate it.

Our RefTalk Client list so far is:

The NSWRL (New South Wales Rugby League) for their following competitions:
Toyota Cup
Jim Bean
Junior Rep

The QLDRL (Queensland Rugby League) - QLD Cup.

NSWRU (New South Wales Rugby Union) - Tooheys' New Cup and the Shute Shield.

Australian Rugby Union (non-televised games)

Auckland Rugby Union, New Zealand.

Welsh Rugby Union.

In the 5 years that RefTalk™ has been in existence, we have found that it is also ideal for the Rugby Sevens competition.

By incorporating 9 RefTalk™ systems, it allows us to wire up 36 officials and have two operators that rotate on and off the field. To date, we have supplied RefTalk™ for the Wellington Sevens every year from 2003 to 2008 and the RWC Sevens 2005 in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Sevens 2006, 2007, 2008, the Singapore Sevens 2005 and 2006, the Adelaide Sevens 2007 and 2008 as well as the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.

I think the best way for anyone to decide on a talkback system is to trial both our
MatchCom™ and RefTalk™ systems against any "rival" system that might be out there.
We are confident our systems are the best available in the world today.

Enquires regarding RefTalk™ should be sent to or



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